Sexual Violence can include any form of unwanted, unwelcome, forceful or coercive sexual contact. Different terms are used to define these behaviors including: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Legal terms and common terms used to define acts of sexual violence are often different, but the commonalities of these crimes, the use of power and control of a person(s) over another, are the same.
Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, class or profession. Although sexual violence is most frequently perpetrated against a woman by a man, it can and does occur between same genders, and also occurs by women abusing men.
No matter who is involved, it is important to understand that sexual violence is not an act of sexual desire or a miscommunication about sexual desire but one of power, control, and entitlement.
While there are many behaviors that are sexually violent, the following are most commonly addressed by our office through crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy:
- sexual assault
- criminal sexual contact
- child sexual abuse
Regardless of what form of sexual violence has been experienced, support is available to help a survivor understand the range of options available.